Thursday, March 17, 2011

Animal Tracking Fun!

In honor of National Wildlife Week, I thought it would be fun to study animal tracking and to have your children of multiple ages to participate, as well. Animal tracking is not only fun, but it is a great form of exercise (walking or hiking), an interesting way to study science (animal biology, habitats, earth science, etc.), and a great way to show just how marvelous God’s creation is!

Here are some tips to keep your children exploring and learning:

• Have your children keep a nature journal where they can draw pictures of the animal tracks they discover. Include track measurements and describe the location, features, and clues related to each track. This is good for ALL ages. Require more journaling by the older children and just pictures from the younger ones!
• Have each child take a Ziploc bag along to collect other nature items, such as leaves and rocks. Toddlers can also find treasures and feel included in this project!
• Take along a camera so that you can add photos to the journals. This is a great way to preserve your homeschooling memories, as well as preserving the animal tracks that you come across on this adventure.
• Keep a quarter or other coin handy to place beside any tracks that you find. This will help to show size perspective when looking back at the photos at another time.
• Purchase a field guide for birds and other animals that frequent your area of the country. Teach your children how to use this guide.
• Consider buying a plaster kit or making your own to preserve the footprints of the animal tracks you find.
• Take only a few older children out to actually track and find the animals, as large groups of children can frighten the animal.
• Have your older children write a report on what they found. Teach them to properly use MS Word, or another word processing program, when preparing their report. They can add charts, graphs and photos from the experience. Have them give an oral report after their project is complete.
• Explore the below sites to see how to explore animal tracks and how to track those animals to their habitats!

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